The Psychology Behind Irrational Decisions
There are times when we all want to believe that we are smart people who carefully consider all of their choices before beginning anything. But study shows that most of the time, the choices we make aren’t very good. Many psychological factors can cause us to make random choices from time to time.
Read More: The psychology behind Emotional needs
What does “irrational decision-making” look like?
While having all the facts, a person makes an irrational choice when they decide to do something that will hurt them. Some of the things that could cause this to happen are:
- Biases are brain tricks that can make you think wrong. People notice this effect when they put too much stock in the first piece of information they get.
- Mood: No matter how logical the choice seems, our feelings play a big role in making it. A bad choice that can be caused by fear is skipping a medical treatment that you need. Despite our awareness that the decisions made by others may not be beneficial for us, they might nonetheless influence us.
- Individuals exert social pressure on one another in this manner. Conforming to social norms is a behaviour often seen among individuals to establish a sense of belonging within a social context.
What is the underlying reason for individuals making choices that lack logical coherence?
Stress has the potential to influence decision-making negatively. One notable aspect is that the human brain does not consistently adhere to logical reasoning. When individuals are faced with constraints in terms of time or financial resources, they often encounter an excess of information, which hinders their ability to make informed decisions. To facilitate the decision-making process, individuals use heuristics, which may be seen as cognitive mechanisms.
The presence of strong emotions is an additional factor contributing to the propensity for poor decision-making. During periods of heightened emotional states, individuals may have difficulties in making decisions that are grounded on factual information. During times of worry or anxiety, for example, we might act without thinking and later regret what we did. The result is that societal factors do affect each of us as people. There are times when we put our health and well-being at risk to fit in and get likes. For example, if we are afraid that our friends will reject us, we might agree to do something we don’t want to.
How to avoid making bad choices
Understanding psychological factors can help us become more aware of our biases and make more rational decisions in the future.
- Choice of words: The knowledge we get has a big impact on the decisions we make. Frames are used for this. When given the choice, “saving 100 lives” is more likely to be chosen than “losing 900 lives.” If you have to choose between “saving 100 people” and “letting 900 people die,” “saving 100 people” usually wins.
- If someone holds on to something sentimentally, they might keep it even if it’s not useful anymore. There is a term for this way of thinking: “sunk cost fallacy.” We might as well keep going to a sports event even if we’re not very interested if we already paid for tickets.
- Things that we already have are more important to us than things that we still need to get. The name for this effect is the wealth effect. We’d rather spend money on keeping a free cup than buying a similar one for the same price.
- FOMO stands for “fear of missing out.” People sometimes make bad choices because they don’t want to miss out. We sometimes buy things we don’t need because we’re afraid they will be gone.
Read More: The Psychology Behind Sportsmanship
We like to think we are smart and informed, but our need to be right can lead us to make bad choices. Being afraid of looking stupid is a big reason why people hold on to false ideas. To help us avoid making bad choices, there are many solutions. Some people have mental problems that we need to be aware of. They may help us notice when they come into our minds and take steps to stop them once we are familiar with them.
Just like the other tip, taking a deep breath and gathering your thoughts before acting is another way to avoid making bad choices. Thoughtless choices are harder to make when you’re feeling sensitive. A short break will help us think more clearly and make a better choice. This last point is that we need to be aware of the outside forces we face. We have to be able to do our own thing, even if it goes against what most people think. Nothing else matters. Decisions that don’t make sense are made all the time. We may be able to avoid making these mistakes and make smarter decisions in the future if we know why people make these decisions.